Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Make Your Own Dylan Music Video

Perhaps "make your own" music video is a little strong, but this great viral ad for a new Bob Dylan anthology has a nifty feature: the ability to edit the message cards for the first thirty seconds or so of classic video "Subterranean Homesick Blues" to include any message and send it to a friend. If anybody else out there has any more links to things like this (especially movies), send them to me and I'll post them with credit.

Make Your Own Dylan Music Video

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"Where's the Professional Courtesy?" - Bad Cops vs. Good Cops

BoingBoing reports that disgruntled cops have set up a website calling out "brother" cops for writing tickets to policemen. Apparently this is a violation of "professional courtesy".

In other words, law-breaking cops are bashing honest cops. Excuse me while I mutter something Yiddish and hold my forehead.

I won't link to the actual site because it's reprehensible, but you can reach it through the BoingBoing link if you would like.

A particularly funny quote from the site:
Our mission is to try and bond our community by bringing the stories of how our brothers and sisters are sometimes mistreated by other brothers and sisters.

Maybe after visiting this site and reading how much it really does affect other officers, you may think twice about giving that ticket.

It's ONLY A TICKET! We're positive that there is someone more deserving of your attention than your own brother or sister.

Policeman Giving Ticket Image from Onemansblog and no doubt many others.

"The Blog Cabin" - Abraham Lincoln's Blog

What a wonderful link. Abraham Lincoln's blog, c/o Eric Snider, complete with a pink-and-purple color scheme. This madness speaks for itself. I'm going to go drown myself now.

Monday, September 24, 2007

What Qualifies as a Mental Problem?

“Well, Bob, based on your rant, I’d say you have a bad case of ripperitis. I hear they’re working on a pill that lets people like you appreciate the complexity of arguments.”

What kind of people don't have the capability to appreciate ambiguity in arguments, relate to the world solely through categorization and get angry at the slightest provocation? If you said "the average human", you are absolutely correct. But now Scott Adams has given people like me everywhere a new look on life by giving it an actual name: "Ripperitis."

The disease refers to the normal willful ignorance indigent to the human race coupled with a frequent, spontaneous sharing of such ignorance. The Internet facilitates this type of behavior to an unfortunate extreme.

If I had more faith in the human race I would say that we may someday get to the point where this will be a clinically-recognized mental illness. It's humanity's #1 problem.

For the complete argument check out the actual blog post at The Dilbert Blog.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Original Zombie Infection Simulator

I'm currently studying the code of the Zombie Infection Simulator by Kevan Davis for my java programming class, and I realized that many of you may not have seen this wonder for yourselves. To experience the joy of watching a panic-stricken city of little pixel people fight off a full-scale zombie invasion just follow the link:

The Original Zombie Infection Simulator

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

This is Not a Love Song. . .

How did I miss this article? From Sunday's Toronto Star:

Bell pulls 'death camp' ads

Sept 15, 2007 4:30 A.M.

Debra Black
Staff Reporter

As Toronto's Jewish community celebrated the Jewish New Year, a subway ad campaign for Solo Mobile, which contained a reference to a Nazi death camp, was pulled down Thursday by horrified officials at Bell Canada.

The billboard ads, which appeared in six subways stops in Toronto and in Vancouver and on a number of buses in Vancouver, featured a young Japanese girl dressed in an urban punk style, sporting a number of buttons and accessories.

One of the buttons she was wearing read: "Belsen was a Gas" – referring to the title of a controversial song by the Sex Pistols about Bergen-Belsen, a Second World War concentration camp.

The ads were pulled down almost immediately, said Mark Langton, a spokesperson for Bell Canada, which owns Solo Mobile, a discount brand wireless service, through Bell Mobility.

"It's a bad ad on any day, perhaps particularly so this week," he said yesterday, referring to the fact that Jews across the city and the world celebrated Rosh Hashanah, or the Jewish New Year, from Wednesday evening till sundown yesterday.

"It was unintended. The reality is we would never knowingly run an ad with an offensive slogan like that."

Bell and its team takes full responsibility for the ad, said Langton, apologizing to "anybody who was offended, distressed or troubled by it, because we were too."


If this was a 'Pistols ad, the outrage would be localized and short-lived; everybody's familiar with Mr. Lydon's lovable shock antics. There's no particular stupid human to blame here - just general dumbness all around. I wish that this was a real 'Pistols ad. Then I'd have loads of commentary.

In the short time I have I couldn't find an image of the poster (maybe somebody could help me out), so you'll have to settle for this image of John "Rotten" Lydon, circa 2003, just after he saw the ratings for his nature show.

Say, this reminds me of my favorite joke:

Q. What do you get when you cross the most famous trial lawyer or our time and a premier punk revolutionary?

A. Johnny Rotten Cochrane! Haw haw!

And for some final fun before I go to class, I offer this game: stare at this image intently for 30 seconds without blinking and then stare at a white surface such as a wall or Seth Green's face.

"Nebraska State Senator Sues God"

Ernie Chambers, Nebraska State Senator, has sued the Almighty for “widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth’s inhabitants.” This is the sort of story that makes me giddy with some inscrutable glee. It's not because a man is suing God, and it's not necessarily because I think the guy's a crackpot. I think it's because the guy's a State Senator. I can't wait to see how this plays out. I'm more interesting in seeing the reactions of others to this:

Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert:

I sure hope it goes to trial. Imagine how interesting that would be. First, how do you select a jury of God’s peers? Compared to the Almighty, even Buddha is just a guy who should use the stairs more often. The entire jury would end up being doctors who sometimes play God, and arborists, who can, sort of, make a tree, if they have acorns. That’s the best you can do.

What happens when you call God to the stand? Does he have to take an oath and promise to tell the truth “so help me me”? I don’t see how that could be anything but awkward.

It's pure entertainment. The countersuit could come at any time, so watch the skies, Ernie.

One final caveat: I am under no illusion that this is really newsworthy. Just an atheist protesting the justice system. It's completely blogworthy, tho'.

Monday, September 17, 2007


I'd just like to take a moment to officially chronicle this moment from last Monday's Pearls Before Swine, perhaps a defining moment in the strangeness of this strip (and a sign of the Apocalypse to boot!).

I'd like to think that I'll always remember where I was when I first saw Zebra and Li'l Jeffy tied to these swamp poles. I was in the living room in front of the computer.

This story ends about as you'd expect, with all main characters safely intact. Shortly before Jeffy's release:

Betrayal doesn't get much better than that.

Signs, Banners and Cookies has put up a nice little selection of modifiable signs and banners, based on the code from that Church Sign Generator we all remember from a few years back. Only a few of the selections have merit, but the good ones are quite well-done. Choose a caption from whimsical to horrible and begin:

Comedic timing and realism is crucial on these things.

Somehow "iWish iWas Happy" just didn't read right on the sign. Opaque Americans don't yet have the rights that they are owed.

I find this little creation of mine oddly hilarious.

One more time: Smorgasbord of Generators

Edit: Thanks to comedy king for link to similar site Custom Sign Generator with a collection of many more sites such as this. The site isn't quite as pretty but it's a real treasure trove. (Be sure to follow the first link to

Friday, September 14, 2007

Ceramic Smash

This amazing image has been my desktop wallpaper for the better part of two months. Now that boingboing has linked to it twice I figure I'd better share the amazing work of Martin Klimas with you. He takes amazing still shots of ceramic figures right as they shatter into a thousand pieces. See the amazing gallery at The Morning News.

This Apple is Going Bad

Now Apple's done it. In an effort to shackle consumers to iTunes downloads and services (not to mention iTunes itself), Apple has rewritten the iPod database to remove compatibility with alternate players. The sentence from the ipodminusitunes article says it all:

"So, it's finally happened. Unhappy with other media players being better than iTunes, Apple have apparently decided to stop them from working with the new range of iPods."

I do not use iTunes on my computer. I use a program called Anapod Explorer, which makes the file transfer process simple and easy. Changing tags and labels of songs (for example to save all audio files to a given album) is easy and, above all, it doesn't force me to synchronize my music or download DRM copy-protected tracks (not a track on my iPod is copy-protected and I won't download from any site that puts such cuffs on their music). In short: iTunes is inconvenient to use. Not as bad as anything in Windows Vista, but far from great.

This makes me sick to my stomach. Reducing freedom and reducing compatibility is not the way to go. In a good few years, when it comes time for me to buy a new audio player, it won't be an iPod. Not a chance, unless something changes. (I'm aware that people will still reverse-engineer the code and make it possible to use other programs, but this is a matter of principle.

Sorry. No jokes today. I'm trying to earn the "Spittin' Nails" tag on this post.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Miscellaneous Madness

Some stuff that's been bugging me lately from YouTube:

Comb Your Beard At Night. Prepare to get this song stuck in your head for hours. From the guy that brought us Toothpaste For Dinner

Pokemon: The Abridged Series Speaking as someone you used to watch the first couple seasons of Pokemon back in the day, this abridged version is hilarious. Take my word for it. Also check out the Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged Series for some more fall-out-of-your-chair mirth.

Beard Guy Irrigates Nasal Passages With Salt Water, Coffee and Whiskey. For those philosophical types among us. (That first beat fools me every time. That song is not "Seven Nation Army".

This is why we have YouTube and the Internet in general. Thank you and now I must go to bed. Note: These links will not show up if your firewall (such as a college firewall) blocks YouTube).

And Now For Something Slightly Different. . .

Those of you looking for something to stare at for a few minutes may enjoy the Human Clock. It's pretty-self explanatory and neat, plus looking some creepy, creepy kamasutra.

My attention was occupied a little yesterday by a slightly-fiendish logic puzzle my sister sent me called Petals Around the Rose. The solution seems fairly obvious in retrospect but it took me more than a few minutes to "get" it. I suggest trying until you get it. No hints, tho.

I have two new music reviews available on, for those interested in that sort of thing. Some of my older reviews haven't had the view count that I would have liked. Only two have passed 25,000 hits. I apologize for the excessive hypertexting in this post. Actually, I don't.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Liberal and Conservative Brain Differences

I found this article on brain analysis between liberals and conservatives very enlightening. Apparently the brains of left-wingers are wired to accept ambiguity and new ideas more readily than those of conservatives. I consider myself mostly libertarian (perhaps the most stubborn political group of them all!) but can definitely see some of these patterns in many die-hard conservatives that I know. It's hard to be objective or intellectually-honest when being stubborn and unchanging, even in the face of overwhelming evidence, is considered a virtue by the right-wing political machine. This article only reinforces my observations from listening to the likes Sean Hannity.

Study finds left-wing brain, right-wing brain

This explains a lot. Though not particular to conservatives this mindset is only rewarded by conservatives.

Image of brain from Corcoran Laboratories Web Site

Monday, September 10, 2007

Here Comes the Music Gestapo, Rick!

Well - it had to be said. The is on top of the licensed music front as always, but here's something new. Rick Rubin - famed bearded music producer and founder of Def Jam weighed in on the topic last week:

"The delivery of music is approaching zero marginal cost - the cost of enabling each listen after the first. For some, this is a terrifying prospect, as their income may have depended upon charging a price much higher than marginal cost, say $18 for a disc that costs no more than a dollar to reproduce."

"At its most rational, consumer behavior suggests they believe media should be priced at or near marginal cost of delivery, which is closer to zero than 99 cents. This is the price to which they have grown accustomed in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and so on... uncontrolled media generally move at or near marginal cost. People feel it in their belly . . ."

Absurd! Unthinkable! For if there's anything the knee-jerk music industry executives have taught us, inflexibility and general stick-up-your-buttedness is the way to make your business decisions. How to combat the wave of free (iffya know where to look) online downloads and media? Selling songs online for a flat $0.99 a pop just isn't going to work anymore, and you all know it. Rick might not have produced anything worthwhile in a couple years, but he's ahead of the times on this one. Let's hope they listen before we have a totalitarian industry on our hands.

. . . Er, ears.

Rick Rubin image by Robert Hanashiro, from USA Today.

Friday, September 07, 2007

"In Event of Moon Disaster"

What if the astronauts who participated in the first moon landing had died in space, or (probably even worse) been stranded on the moon itself? Well, it turns out that the American government had planned for exactly that sort of thing.

Check out "In Event of Moon Disaster", William Safire's 1969 speech for President Nixon to be read following such a situation. Safire's speech (and the accompanying memo) is a chilling reminder of what might have been (what a morale-killer for the United States!):

From The Smoking Gun:


To: H. R. Haldeman

From: Bill Safire

July 18, 1969.


Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.

These two men are laying down their lives in mankind's most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.

They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by the nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.

In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.

In ancient days, men looked at the stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man's search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.

For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.


The President should telephone each of the widows-to-be.


A clergyman should adopt the same procedure as a burial at sea, commending their souls to "the deepest of the deep," concluding with the Lord's Prayer.


Moon image from

Make Your Own Barbie Electric Chair

Do-it-yourself site Instructables has a great new project set up for all you aspiring death row wards:

How to Make the Barbie Electric Chair

A nice attempt to bring a little Texas Justice to the toy world, the Barbie electric chair can be built using materials you'll find around the home plus a little American know-how. My mind boggles that this started out as a science fair project. . .

Actually, this whole thing reminds me of the unfortunate end to a certain teddy bear that had been lying around our apartment for some time. Nobody seemed to want him, and after weeks of being used to mop up spills he was getting pretty gross to have around, so we cleansed the poor guy by fire. He ended up some sort of creepy styrofoam bear soup.

About this point the little guy lost all structural integrity.

The poor thing never had a chance. Or anybody who loved him.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Aquabats Find Their New Niche

I knew The Aquabats deserved full-blown recognition in some fashion, but I never knew that they'd actually get it. Being ahead of the curve usually counts against you in this culture.

From the San Francisco Chronicle: "Preschooler TV goes hip with 'Yo Gabba Gabba'"

Christian Jacobs (who we all know as the illustrious M.C. Bat Commander) has created a television program which should help to keep the next generation listening. I was worried about the frontman of my favorite group dumbing his schtick down to the level of a childrens' program, but the article quelled all of my fears. Let's hope "Yo Gabba Gabba" is successful. I think it will be.

Image taken from the Vinyl Pulse coverage of a Kidrobot toy festival which can be found at their website.

Tips For Aspiring Criminals/Authors. . .

. . . if you've committed a grisly murder, don't later write a novel about it. If by some lapse in judgment you do later write a novel about your murder, don't make it apparent by the details in the novel that you have actually committed the crime.

From the New Zealand herald: "Writer convicted of murder he described in novel"

You see, Krystian Bala had superhuman knowledge of the 2000 murder of Dariusz Janiszewski. Knowledge presumably only available to the police department and the crime's culprit.

Spraying those details out to the public in his novel "Amok" wasn't his best moment. The details in the novel provide a pretty strong case, especially considering that Bala sold the victim's mobile phone on the internet days after the disappearance.

Kind of ironic, but this sounds like a crime novel, dunnit?

iPod Woes (Well, Sort Of)

I never thought that I'd turn obsolete in one month.

Thirty-two days after my happy transition into the digital music world with my new black 30GB iPod Video, Apple makes my iPod obsolete and, as is their wont, introduces a newer, huger model - the inevitable new specs object for the tech-crazed blogosphere this Christmas season.

The New iPod Classic - and a New Price For an Old One

My 30GB cost $250 when I ordered it. Now the 30GB has been replaced with the 80GB at the same price point. Had I waited I would have gotten about two and two-thirds times the storage space for the same price. The 80GB's old spot has been taken by the absolutely brobdingnagian new 160GB iPod classic. "Forty thousand songs!" the advertisement reads.

One hundred sixty thousand minutes, assuming four minutes per song.

One hundred eleven days of continuous playback (by my experience, something like two hundred battery charge cycles, though Apple's inflated battery life estimates would put it closer to 66 cycles).

But I'm absolutely satisfied with what I have now (slight twinge of buyer's remorse at passing up the 160GB model notwithstanding). To give a little context, my existing iPod offers a mere twenty days of playback. I've already got 3,200 songs and something like five hours of video on the sucker (and a hearty 14GB of space remaining) and haven't even gotten close to listening to it all. So, I'll stick with what I've got for now - at least, until the inevitable moment when Apple unveils the new 3TB iPod Classic* with a Pez dispenser and flashlight (still no FM tuner, of course).

*How long can Apple keep using that word "Classic" until we realize they're lying? Let's all get on the same page: the only "classic" iPod is the first one - the one shaped like a first-generation GameBoy and a mechanical scroll wheel. A mechanical scroll wheel, for crying out loud.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Terrifying PS3 Scream . . . . Uh, Screen

Everybody check out this custom PS3 screen. Kotaku apparently doesn't like it very much, but I think this is awesome and should be part of the regular line. Phenomenal cosmic power . . . itty-bitty living space:
What I want to know is: is somebody going to be paying Pink Floyd for the royalties?

Folk Songs Turned Into Awesome Movie Trailers

Picture this:


A group of FORENSIC DETECTIVES is sitting in a large board room, going over unseen photographs. The camera pans over the room, to the grim face of DR. WOLFSHEIM, the program head.

DR WOLFSHEIM: "We are tracking a dangerous maniac - every time he kills, he adopts the surname of his victim. First his name was "John Jacob". Then he killed Doctor Flaversheim Jingleheimer. "


DR. WOLFSHEIM: "Dr. Schmidt, I'm putting you in charge of the investigation.
We need to stop our friend before his name has a chance to grow any longer."



NIGHT - INSPECTOR SCHMIDT is working at his drawing room computer, beads of sweat dotting his brow as he feverishly searches through documents, images, databases. A beat. The music rises as sudden comprehension dawns on his face. The music rises to a crescendo, and, as the camera draws nearer and nearer to the man's face, the music comes to an abrupt halt:

INSPECTOR SCHMIDT (WHISPER): "His name is my name too."

A window breaks downstairs. SCHMIDT darts toward the window. Follows a random sequence of violent images - the type usually seen in movie trailers: Too blurry to see clearly, a shrouded figure swings an electric eggbeater. Someone jumps off of a roof. A fire hydrant explodes. Work with me here.


Finally, everything fades to black. Spooky childrens' voices start singing.

CHILDREN: ". . . whenever he goes out, the people always shout. . . there goes John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt. . ."

Through each beat of the pre-chorus ("LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA!!!" ) a letter drops into place until the screen reads "July 2008" in blood-red letters.


It's gold! Not just the trailer but the movie! Does anybody else have a nursery rhyme or movies trailer that would work well in this format?

Drudge Misrepresentation

Look at this article from Variety that the Drudge report dubbed "Hollywood Credits Global Warming For Boom." Italicized, of course, no doubt to show typical Conservative exasperation at the state of the world.

"Hollywood Credits Global Warming For Boom"

Then read the article. Buried fourteen items deep on a list of reasons why the box office thrived this year is the offending point: The weather. Not global warming. Just the weather. Sure, the writer added his trite little "global warming" comment into the article but the quote from Hollywood, Drudge's offending organization, goes no farther than to say "the weather is bad".

People like watching movies when the weather is bad. Defcon 4 everybody, it's another threat to democracy. Republicanism - whatever.

Drudge does this every week on his miserable radio show, but it's a shame to see this type of misrepresentation and outright sensationalizing on his otherwise-decent web site. At least in print form there's no dead air.